Shell spooks investors with shock profit warning

17th January 2014

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Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has rattled investors today with a shock profit warning sending the shares 4% lower in early trading writes Philip Scott.

The firm’s new chief Ben van Beurden admitted that the performance update was not what he expected from the group.

A statement from Shell said: “Fourth-quarter 2013 figures… are expected to be significantly lower than recent levels of profitability.”

The corporation, which has operations in more than 140 countries and territories and has more than 100,000 employees now anticipates that profits for the quarter to be about $2.2bn against City analyst expectations of $4bn and profits for 2013 in total to be $16.8bn, a 38% fall.

Van Beurden said: “Our focus will be on improving Shell’s financial results, achieving better capital efficiency and on continuing to strengthen our operational performance and project delivery.”

The group cited “weak industry conditions in downstream oil products, higher exploration expenses and lower upstream volumes” as the main challenges it currently faces.

Third quarter profits for the group were $4.5bn, down from $6.6bn in the same period the previous year.

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